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Pete Janzen, a knowledgeable Kansas birder (and a great guy) has sent
two posts to the KS listserve that I feel Missouri birders would find
interesting.

Edge Wade
Columbia, MO
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Post #1:

From: PETE JANZEN <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Thu Sep 23, 2004  08:40:17 PM US/Central
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Collectors vs. the rest of us
Reply-To: [log in to unmask]

I have been to the KUMNH where this gull specimen is no located.  I
have a
full apprecaition of the work of the museum and the value of its
collection.  And I can understand the reasoning that went into the
decision
to collect this specimen.   I wrote a paper on Rufous-crowned Sparrows a
couple of years ago, and I gained much valuable information from the
curators of the collections at KU and also OU.  The KU collection also
has
supplied me with some excellent information on Sedgwick County birds,
which
is incorporated into my manuscript.

  I can also understand why so many people are appalled and saddened by
this
act.   It made me sad to hear about it.  Interesting was the reference to
the decades-past animosity that some influential members of Wichita
Audubon
held towards KOS as a result of the opinions about some collecting
activities.  This animosity had ramifications which  were quite
far-reaching and long-lasting.  They even affected the last will and
testaments of some persons with regard to some fairly substantial
bequests
to conservation organizations!  And today you can still detect the echos
of
that feeling if you know where to look.  I will say that that particular
schism was really mis-directed towards KOS, and was really only the
result
of a few specific incidents that made a deep impression on people.  It
supposedly all started with a Lazuli Bunting that was taken in front of a
group of mild-mannered women, if the oral history I have heard is
correct.


There are only a very small handful of scientists with the permits to
collect in Kansas,  and today it is mostly restricted to very significant
findings.  There are not a bunch of wild-eyed academics running around
the
state filling their coolers with bird specimens.  Most serious birders
are
aware of the occasional collecting that goes on and accept that, but it
does seem that taking such a high-profile bird was a rather provacative
act, and the way in which it was made known exacerbated the situation.

PJ


Post #2:

I was really going to stay out of this latest spat, but below please
note a message I received from someone tonight and my response to same.
This collecting of the gull was NOT something that was done in any way,
official or otherwise by "KOS".  This was done by a scientist working
for a public university who has a collecting permit to do so.  Some of
the early e-mails on this topic seemed to imply that this was in some
way planned or condoned by KOS.  Not so people.  I did make an error in
my reply to Anonymous.  One of the collectors was on the KBRC many years
ago.   Anyway, commentary directed towards KOS with regard to this
matter is entirely misplaced.

Dear Pete: I appreciated your balanced comments on the gull situation,
but I'm still appalled by it and am seriously rethinking my membership
in KOS. I can't reconcile the deliberate killing of a bird with the ABA
Code of Birding Ethics, which calls for birders to "avoid stressing
birds or exposing them to danger." I feel that KOS could affirm its
belief in this principle without sacrificing its dedication to the
serious study of birds.

Dear Anonymous: Hey whoa now this was done by two people who are
probably the least involved in KOS of all prominent birders in the
entire state of Kansas. I can't think of a single KOS that meeting
either of them has ever attended except the one that was literally held
IN the KUMNH.  Neither of them has ever held a board or committee
position of any kind in the organization. This was done by the KU
Museum, it was not done by KOS, it was not sanctioned by KOS, and I
doubt that very many KOS members even approve of it being done at all.


PETE JANZEN
Wichita, Kansas
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